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Posts Tagged ‘Gluten-free’

Creamed Carrots

This is a lovely side dish to serve alongside lamb koftas or something similar. We had it for dinner with just some brown rice and that was surprisingly good too.

Creamed Carrots – serves 4

  • 400g carrots, coarsely grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • a thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely shredded
  • 3-4 small, hot green chillies, finely chopped
  • a thick slice of butter
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp cashew nuts, toasted in a dry pan or in the oven, roughly chopped
  • 4 tbsp double cream
  • 4 heaped tbsp natural yoghurt
  • a good handful of coriander leaves
  • a squeeze of lime

Melt the butter in a frying pan, then add the garlic, ginger and mustard seeds and cook for a minute before adding the chopped chillies. Stir together for a minute then add the carrots and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Stir the cream and yoghurt together and fold into the hot carrots with some seasoning. Immediately tip into a serving dish and top with the cashew nuts, coriander leaves and lime.

(Original recipe from Tender Volume I  by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2009)

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Chicken Fricassée with Morels

It’s bean a while since we’ve been in France, but when we were there we stocked up on dried morels (and ceps) at the Saint-Cyprien market, and bought as much wine as they would let us have at Domaine Labet in the Jura. Creamy mushroom sauce and chardonnay from the Jura is a magic combination! We served this with roast potatoes made with a variety called carolus from McNally Family Farm – they make amazing roasties!

Wine Suggestion: We were fortunate to find a couple of different vintages of Labet’s En Chalasse Chardonnay which comes from very old vineyard plots. Tonight we opened the 2015 which showed the effect of a warm vintage with a broad and lifted ripe apple character and hints of nuts and spices. More gentle acidity than usual but well in balance with hints of skin contact and phenolic textures on the palate.

Chicken fricassée with morels – serves 4

  • 20g dried morels
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts with the skin on
  • 1 banana shallot, finely chopped
  • 90g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
  • 100ml Noilly Prat or dry sherry
  • 130ml chicken stock
  • 300g full-fat crème fraîche

Soak the morels in 200ml of tepid water for about 15 minutes, then drain through a sieve over a bowl to catch the liquid.  Strain the liquid and keep 75ml for the sauce. Rinse the morels under cold water to remove any grit, then dry with kitchen paper and cut in half lengthways.

Melt half the butter in a large sauté pan and fry the chicken, skin-side down, for about 3 minutes or until nicely browned. Turn the chicken pieces over and continue to brown for a few minutes on the other side. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Add the rest of the butter to the pan, then fry the shallot until softened. Add the morels and chestnut mushrooms and fry for a few minutes. Add the Noilly Prat or sherry, the reserved soaking liquid and the stock, then bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for a few minutes.

Add the crème fraîche and stir until melted into the sauce, then put the chicken back in, along with any juices on the plate. Cover the pan with a lid and cook over a medium heat for about 8 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Season with salt and lots of black pepper.

(Original recipe from Secret France by Rick Stein, BBC Books, 2019)

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Sorrel Soup

This is the sorrel soup from Rick Stein’s book, Secret France. It’s delicious and tastes just like soups we’ve had in France on our holidays, and are never quite sure what’s in them. We got bags of fabulously fresh sorrel from McNally Family Farm.

Sorrel soup – serves 4 to 6

  • 50g butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 450g potatoes, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1 litre chicken or veg stock
  • 250g sorrel
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp single cream
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then add the onion, garlic, leek and potatoes. Cook over a medium heat for about 15 minutes or until softened.

Add the stock and the sorrel and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Blend until smooth.

Season with salt and lots of black pepper, then stir in the honey. Serve in warm bowls with a drizzle of cream and the chives over the top.

(Original recipe from Secret France by Rick Stein, BBC Books, 2019.)

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Cherry Tomato Risotto

We planted tomato plants in the garden during lockdown, and now we have cherry tomatoes coming out of our ears. Last week we made roasted cherry tomato soup and this week it’s tomato risotto. It’s a good complaint!

Wine Suggestion: A risotto … made with tomatoes … it had to be Sangiovese. We chose a bright, fresh fruited Chianti made by Trudie Styler and Sting. The Tenuta il Palaggio, When We Can Dance Chianti just revels in pure, good quality fruit; joyful and unsullied by oak.

Cherry tomato risotto – serves 4

  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock (we use Swiss Marigold Bouillon Powder)
  • a knob of butter
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 rosemary sprig, finely chopped
  • 250g risotto rice
  • 300g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • a handful of basil leaves
  • grated Parmesan to serve

Put the tin of tomatoes in a food processor with 500ml of the veg stock and whizz until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan and add the rest of stock, then bring to a gentle simmer.

Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan over a gentle heat, then add the chopped onion and cook gently until softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic & rosemary, then cook for another minute. Add the rice and stir for a minute until the grains are glistening.

Start adding generous ladlefuls of the tomato and stock mixture and stir gently until absorbed before adding more. When you have added about half the stock, add the cherry tomatoes to the pan and season with salt and lots of black pepper. Continue adding the stock until it is used up and the rice is al dente, it should take 20-25 minutes.

Cover the pot and leave for 1 minutes, then tear and stir in the basil leaves. Serve in warmed bowls with Parmesan grated over the top.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Paella with Runner Beans, Chicken & Prawns

We just can’t resist runner beans when we see them and were so glad to find this recipe which puts them to good use. Healthy enough for a weeknight too.

Wine Suggestion: for a dish with both chicken and shellfish we prefer textural white wines. With an extra umami-savoury element we find that Grüner Veltliner also complements the paprika and saffron here. Tonight a wine from a friend in the business, the Schloss Gobelsburg Langenlois Kamptal GV. Quite a ripe style but with backbone and finesse too.

Paella with runner beans, chicken & prawns – serves 4 (we halved successfully)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 8 skinless chicken thighs
  • 225g paella rice
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 850ml hot chicken stock, with 2 large pinches of saffron added
  • 350g runner beans, peel down the sides with a vegetable peeler to remove any strings, then thickly slice into chunks
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped
  • 200g raw large king prawns

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onions and garlic, and fry for 5 minutes. Push the onions to one side, then add the chicken thighs and cook for 10 minutes or until browned.

Stir in the rice and paprika, then pour in the wine and let is sizzle for a minute or two. Add the saffron stock, then stir in the beans and pepper, and cook for about 15 minutes or until the rice is tender and most of the stock absorbed. You can add a bit more stock if needed.

Add the prawns for the last few minutes, they will turn pink when cooked. Season generously and allow to stand for a few minutes before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Courgettes with Mint & Ricotta

There was a little bit of leftover ricotta in our fridge, and some courgettes and mint in the garden, which improved Tuesday’s freezer dinner immensely!

Courgettes with mint & ricotta – serves 2 as a side

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • 2 large courgettes, sliced
  • zest and juice of ½ a lemon
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 35g of ricotta (or whatever quantity you have)
  • a small handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped

Heat a large heavy frying pan over a medium heat. Heat half the oil with half the butter, then add half of the courgettes in a single layer. Cook for 2 minutes, then turn the heat to low and continue cooking for 5 minutes, don’t be tempted to move them as you want them to take on plenty of colour.

Turn the courgettes, then grate over some lemon zest, pour over half the lemon juice and season with salt, pepper and chilli flakes. Leave for another 5 minutes or until very tender. Remove to a warm platter and repeat with the remaining courgettes.

Top the courgette with spoons of ricotta, drizzle over your best olive oil and scatter over the mint to serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Vitello Tonnato

Well it’s the last day of summer on this side of the world but we’re still hanging on for a while longer. Vitello tonnato is a true holiday dish and one we can never resist when we see it on a menu – forever summer!

You need to cook the veal and make the mayonnaise the night before you wish to serve.

Wine suggestion: naturally this goes with a range of Italian wines, either white or youthful reds. Make sure they aren’t too lush though and keep a bit of acidity or else the caprrs will work against you and you’ll lose the delicate flavour balance. To push out of this comfort zone though we headed east to Greece and a new found favourite: Thymiopoulos’ Xinomavro Jeunes-Vignes from Naoussa. With hints of youthful Burgundy and Piedmont, touches of crunchiness, delightful earthy red fruits and plenty of class to match the dish.

Vitello tonnato – serves 6

  • 2 banana shallots, halved lengthways
  • 1 carrot, halved
  • 1 celery stick, halved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • small bunch of thyme
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 200ml white wine
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 600g rose veal fillet, trimmed of any fatty bits and sinew

FOR THE MAYONNAISE:

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 198g tin tuna in sunflower oil, drained
  • 1 tbsp baby capers, drained
  • 1½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp caster sugar
  • ¼ tsp sea salt, plus extra to season
  • 100ml sunflower oil
  • 50ml olive oil

TO GARNISH:

  • 2 tbsp baby capers, drained
  • roughly chopped parsley
  • 12 caper berries
  • lemon wedges

Put the shallots, carrot, celery, bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns, wine and chicken stock into a large saucepan. Add 1 tsp of salt and bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 30 minutes.

Place the veal into the stock, then turn down to a bare simmer and poach for 15 minutes, turning regularly. Remove from the liquid and set aside to cool. Keep 100ml of the cooking liquid for the mayonnaise.

When the veal has cooled, season it generously with black pepper and wrap tightly in clingfilm. Put in the fridge and chill overnight.

To make the mayonnaise, put the egg yolks, tuna, capers, 1 tbsp of the lemon juice, mustard and sugar into a food processor. Season with salt and black pepper. Whizz until well combined, then gradually add both the oils and blend until smooth and thickened.

Add 2 tbsp of the reserved cooking liquid and blend again to give a soft consistency, add a bit more if you need. Spoon the mayonnaise into a bowl, then season again and add some more lemon juice if needed. Cover the surface with clingfilm and chill in the fridge overnight.

When ready to serve, slice the veal very thinly and arrange in overlapping slices on a platter and top with spoons of the tuna mayonnaise. Garnish with baby capers, parsley and caper berries, then season again with black pepper and a little salt. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.

(Recipe from the Hairy Bikers’ Meat Feasts by Si King and Dave Myers, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2015.)

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Bearnaise sauce

We rarely do the classic sauces, sometimes they look a bit intimidating. This Béarnaise is easily made and tastes superb, perfect for when only steak & chips will do. It will keep warm in the bowl while you cook your steaks.

Wine suggestion: Béarnaise is a slightly piquant sauce, so you have to make sure the wine you choose isn’t too acidic. Our choice was the Ridge Lytton Estate Petite Sirah. This is full bodied and richly plum flavoured with peppery tannins and very high levels of anthocyanins (colour and anti-oxidants). Crucially though it has only a medium acidity and so doesn’t fight the sauce. A rare enough grape, but in expert hands, wonderful indeed.

Béarnaise Sauce – serves 2

  • 50ml white wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • a large sprig of tarragon, bruised
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 200g unsalted butter, diced and softened
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp tarragon leaves, finely chopped
  • freshly ground white pepper
  • sea salt

Put the vinegar, black peppercorns, shallot and whole tarragon sprig into a small saucepan with 50ml of water, then bring to the boil. Simmer until reduced to about 2 tablespoons, then strain and reserve the liquid.

Put a heatproof bowl over a pan of just simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not in contact with the water.

Put the egg yolks, a cube of butter and a pinch of salt into the bowl. Whisk together, then add half the reserved liquid. Keep whisking until the mixture comes together and starts to thicken, then gradually add all of the butter, one cube at a time. Make sure that the mixture has emulsified (and not separated!) before you add any more butter each time. If it becomes too thick you can add teaspoons of warm water to thin it.

When all the butter has been added, remove the bowl from over the pan. Add a squeeze of lemon and stir in the chopped tarragon. Taste for seasoning and add more lemon juice, salt, white pepper, or more of the reduced liquid if needed. Leave the sauce in the warm bowl (off the heat) and it will keep warm for about 30 minutes but keep stirring occasionally.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ Meat Feasts by Si King & Dave Myers, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2015.)

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Courgette Trifolate

We can’t be the only people living on courgettes at the minute. Not that we’re complaining, we love looking out for different things to do with them which is how we came across this little side dish by Jacob Kennedy. The cooking method is a bit different but the result is delicious, the lesser cooked bits taste really strongly of courgettes and you also get some browned pieces with a deeper flavour.

Courgettes with Parsley – serves 4 as a side

  • 600g courgettes
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • a tiny pinch of crushed dried chilli flakes
  • about 20g of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Thinly slice the courgettes, 3-5mm.

Get out a large, wide frying pan.  It needs to be big enough to hold the courgettes no more than 2-3 layers deep.

Heat the pan until really smoking or at least very, very hot. Add all of the courgettes and shake the pan to settle them, leave for 30 seconds.

Drizzle over the oil and sprinkle with salt but don’t stir yet. Continue to cook for another 30 seconds, then add the garlic, chilli and some black pepper. Toss once, so the courgettes on the bottom are pretty much on the top and the garlic and chilli underneath. Leave for 15 seconds, then shake the pan and cook for another 15 seconds. Sprinkle with parsley and toss a few times to mix, then remove from the heat. Leave in the pan for a further minute to finish cooking, then serve hot or at room temperature.

(Original recipe from Bocca Cookbook by Jacob Kennedy, Bloomsbury, 2011.)

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Lobster Thermidor

We’re pretty sure this isn’t the classic recipe but it was a lovely meal to end our holiday at home. Tomorrow we both go back to work, but tonight it was deliciousness all the way. We served this with a classic green salad, home-made chips and a fabulous wine that we bought on summer holidays in France last year.

Wine suggestion: a decadent dish requires a similar wine. Vintage Champagne is often suggested for lobster and works well, so does a good Premier Cru white Burgundy. On the same level though is good Jura Chardonnay and so we opened our last bottle of Domaine Labet’s “en Billat” 2016. Crunchy ripe apples, stony limestone and almond kernals, pears, quince, nuts and hints of buttery toast; quite extraordinary. We wish we had the will power to cellar these wines for longer … but keep on getting tempted.

Lobster with Thermidor butter – serves 2

  • 150ml white wine
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • a handful of chopped tarragon
  • a handful of chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ a lemon, juiced
  • a pinch of paprika
  • a dash of Tabasco sauce
  • 5 tbsp grated Parmesan
  • 140g softened butter
  • 2 cooked lobsters

Put the wine and the shallot into a small pan and bring to the boil. Reduce until almost dry, then cool.

Mix together the tarragon, parsley, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, paprika, Tabasco, Parmesan, the shallot mixture and the butter. Roll into a log, wrap in clingfilm and chill to harden.

Snap the claws off the lobsters. Cut the lobsters in half with a heavy knife then wash the head cavity under cold water and dry with kitchen towels.

Put the lobsters, cut side up, on a baking tray. Crack the claws and pick out all the meat, then stuff it into the head cavities.

Heat the grill to high. Slice the butter into thin rounds and lay along the lobsters to cover the meat. Grill for about 5 minutes or until the butter is bubbling and starting to brown. Pour any butter on the tray over the lobster before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, August 2011.)

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Smoked Paprika-Baked Courgettes, Tomatoes & Green Beans with Eggs

We’re really not brunch people, mainly as there’s so much going on at the weekends that we don’t have the time. Lockdown has provided us with some opportunities however. So instead of getting up early and out the door on a Saturday morning we’ve been coming downstairs in our pjs and making something nice for breakfast.

Smoked paprika-baked courgettes, tomatoes & green beans with eggs – serves 2

  • 2 large courgettes, cut into ½ cm slices
  • 200g small waxy potatoes, quartered
  • 150g cherry tomatoes
  • 6 scallions, trimmed
  • 2 ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • leaves from 3 sprigs of thyme plus a few whole sprigs
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tbsp smoked paprika, plus extra to serve if you like
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 125g green beans, trimmed
  • 2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 190C/400F/Gas 6.

Blanch the green minutes for a couple of minutes in salty boiling water, then drain and run under cold water to stop them cooking. Dry with some kitchen paper and toss with ½ tbsp of the olive oil. Set aside.

Put all of the vegetables (except the green beans) into a large baking tray and spread them out in an even layer. Add 2 tbsp olive oil, the thyme, chilli flakes, smoked paprika, garlic and season with salt and pepper. Toss everything together, then bake for 30 minutes, tossing the veg a few times.

Sprinkle the green beans over the top and return to the oven for another 8 minutes.

Break the eggs on top, season and put back in the oven for another 8 minutes for runny eggs.

Serve with a little more smoked paprika if you like.

(Original recipe from Diana Henry’s ‘From the Oven to the Table’, Mitchell Beazley, 2019.)

 

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Barbecued Prawns with Chilli, Lime & Coriander Butter

Messy but oh so good! Treat your friends to a pile of these at your next barbecue and you will be very popular. Napkins, finger bowls, baby wipes etc., essential!

Wine Suggestion:  we think this needs an uncomplicated and fun white like a Picpoul de Pinet, Muscadet or Albariño, or going up a gear we chose the Bodegas Katxina Txakoli from near San Sebastien in Spain … tapas, sun, seafood and socialising. Happy days.

Barbecued prawns with chilli, lime & coriander butter – serves 4

  • 1kg large raw tiger prawns with the shell on, remove the heads before cooking

FOR THE BUTTER:

  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • a small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • juice of 1 lime, plus wedges to serve
  • 200g butter, softened

Make the butter by putting the garlic, coriander, chilli and lime juice into a food processor and pulse until chopped.

Toss 1 tbsp of the flavoured butter with prawns and leave in the fridge until ready to cook.

Put the rest onto a piece of tin foil and roll into a sausage shape. Put into the freezer to harden.

Preheat the barbecue, then cook the prawns for a few minutes on each side until pink. Serve on a platter and melt thin slices of the butter over the top. You can also melt some extra butter and serve on the side if you want. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze over.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Salmon Tikka with Radish Raita

Such a simple dish for a weeknight but full of lovely flavours. We found this recipe when needing to use up the glut of radishes from our garden and it was perfect.

Wine Suggestion: A fuller-bodied Alvarinho we found was a good match here. Quinta Soalheiro’s Alvarinho had the right weight, textures and flavour to match the warm spices, cooling Raita, earthy radishes and the salmon.

Salmon Tikka with Radish Raita  – serves 2

  • 8 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp tandoori masala (you can buy this or use the recipe here)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 skinless salmon fillets
  • lemon wedges, to serve

FOR THE RAITA

  • ½ cucumber, seeded and grated
  • 1 tbsp chopped mint
  • a bunch of radishes, sliced

Heat your grill to high.

Put the grate cucumber into a sieve and squeeze out as much water as possible, then leave to drain.

Mix 2 tbsp of the yoghurt with the ginger, garlic, spices and season with salt and pepper. Rub this mixture all over your salmon fillets, then place onto a lightly oiled baking tray and grill for 4 to 6 minutes or until cooked through and starting to char at the edges.

Mix the raita ingredients together with the rest of the yoghurt (6 tbsp) and season. Serve with the salmon and lemon wedges to squeeze over.

(Original recipe by Anna Glover in Olive Magazine, July 2015)

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Chicken Tikka Masala

A take-away classic. We barbecued the chicken to give it a charred flavour to replicate the tandoor. We used our charcoal barbecue for maximum flavour, but even on a gas one the barbecue flavour is a nice bonus. Serve with rice, naan breads and raita.

Wine Suggestion: this dish isn’t spicy hot, rather richly flavoured. A medium-weight oaked Chardonnay is our choice, with automatically a lot of new world options immediately sprung to mind. We opened a Chateau Beauregard Pouilly-Fuissé instead to see if a classic southern Burgundy worked and were very happy we did.

Chicken tikka masala – serves 4

FOR THE SPICE MIX:

  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder (we don’t have this but you can use 2 tbsp of sweet paprika mixed with 1 tsp of medium chilli powder instead)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground fenugreek
  • pinch of cloves

CHICKEN TIKKA:

  • 1 tbsp of the spice mix (see above)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 20g fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 4 chicken breasts, skinned and diced
  • fresh coriander, to serve

SAUCE:

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 25g fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp of the spice mix (see above)
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée
  • ½ tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt

Make the spice mix by mixing all of the spices together. You will have more than you need for this recipe and can use this in any recipe calling for tandoori masala.

Make the marinade for the chicken by combining the spice mix with the garlic, ginger and yoghurt. Put the chicken into a bowl and season well with salt. Add the lemon juice and toss to coat, then pour over the spice and yoghurt mixture. Mix well, then cover and leave in the fridge for a few hours, or ideally overnight.

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a pan and add the onions, garlic and ginger. Cover and cook over a medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is soft. Remove the lid, increase the heat slightly, and cook for another 5 minutes or until the onions take on some colour.

Add the spices and stir for a minute or so , then add the tomato purée and sugar. Season with salt and pepper, then stir for a few minutes. Add 400ml of water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Blend the sauce with a stick blender until completely smooth, then stir in the yoghurt. You can make the sauce up to a couple of days in advance or if using straightaway, keep warm while you cook the chicken.

Preheat your barbecue until very hot. Place a griddle pan on the barbecue grill and heat until searing hot. Remove the chicken from the marinade and wipe off any excess. Cook for a few minutes or until charring and easy to lift off the griddle. Turn and cook on the other side, until just cooked through. You will need to do this in batches.

If you don’t have a barbecue use a griddle pan on the stove, and likewise wait until searing hot before griddling.

Reheat your sauce if necessary, then add the cooked chicken. Simmer until everything is piping hot, then serve sprinkled with coriander and with some lemon wedges.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ British Classics by Si King & Dave Myers, Seven Dials, 2018.)

 

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Georgian Kidney Bean Salad

We try so many recipes but it’s rare that we find one that’s like nothing we’ve had before. This is different and definitely recommended by us.

Georgian kidney bean salad – serves 2

  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 x 400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
  • ½ tsp brown sugar
  • ½ a bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 sprigs of parsley, chopped
  • 2 sprigs of dill, chopped

Toast the fenugreek, coriander and fennel seeds in a dry frying pan until fragrant. Tip into a pestle and mortar and crush with a pinch of sea salt.

Heat 2 tbsp of the sunflower oil in a frying pan and cook the onion for 10-15 minutes or until soft and browned. Add the beans and warm through.

Mix 1 tbsp sunflower oil, the sherry vinegar, sugar, crushed spices, herbs and salt and pepper, together in a bowl. Stir through the beans and serve warm or cold.

(Original recipe from Mamushka by Olia Hercules, Mitchell Beazley, 2015.)

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Sweet Beetroot Pickle

This is so simple and far superior to the jars you buy in supermarkets (though we do like them too). The flavour of the earthy beetroot really shines through.

A good thing about pickling your own beetroot is that you can source/grow different types and they’ll all have their own character; this one was less red in colour and a touch more peppery than the usual supermarket variety. We’re on the lookout for golden beetroot next to see what happens there too.

Sweet pickle beetroot – serves 4 to 6

  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 4-6 beetroots (about 300g)
  • 90g light brown sugar
  • 125ml red wine vinegar
  • 125ml water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • 2 bay leaves

Preheat the oven to 220C/180 fan/Gas 6.

Sprinkle the salt into the bottom of a roasting tin and place the whole beetroots on top. Bake for 30 minutes, then pierce with a sharp knife to see if they’re tender all the way through. Keep cooking until your knife goes through easily. It could take 15 minutes more or longer depending on the size of your beetroots.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then trim the ends and peel off the skin – you will need gloves. Cut each beetroot into 8-10 wedges and put into an airtight container.

Heat the remaining ingredients together and bring to the boil. Pour over the beetroots, including all the spices, and seal the container. Leave to cool to room temperature before transferring to the fridge.

You can eat the beetroots the following day or leave them longer for the flavour to develop. They should be good for a month if you don’t open the container. Once opened you need to eat within 2 weeks which should not be a problem!

(Original recipe from Honey & Co. by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich, Saltyard Books, 2014)

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Classic Prawn Cocktail

Some might say retro, but make this and you’ll have to admit it is a classic! This is not the authentic recipe, but it makes the best version we’ve come across so far by using Heinz salad cream and pink peppercorns.  You can make the prawn mix up a few hours in advance and leave it in the fridge.

Wine Suggestion: pink with pink … you just have to! Tonight something different, the Les Prunes Blanc des Mandó from near Valencia. Quite possibly Spain’s best answer to a dry, savoury, Provençal rosé … and a useful 11.5% abv.

Prawn cocktail – serves 6

  • 450g small cooked prawns (frozen ones work well but defrost thoroughly, drain well,  and pat dry with kitchen paper)
  • 200g salad cream
  • 3 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • a few drops of Tabasco
  • little gem lettuces
  • 1 tbsp pink peppercorns, crushed (or 2 tsp paprika if you don’t have the peppercorns)

Mix the salad cream, ketchup, lemon juice and Tabasco in a large bowl, then fold in the prawns.

Finely shred the lettuce and use to line individual bowls or a platter. Spoon the prawns over the top and scatter with the crushed peppercorns or paprika.

(Original recipe from Feast by Nigella Lawson, Chatto & Windus, 2004.)

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Tomatoes Stuffed with Cheese & Herbs

We made these for lunch when having a bit of a fridge clear out (story of our lives!). They work really well as a side with other interesting flavours on the plate. We had some cold leftover lamb, some pickled beetroot and a green tabule salad and it was altogether delicious! Vary the herbs according to what you have, we used fennel herb but basil would be good too.

Tomatoes stuffed with cheese & herbs – serves 4

  • 4 beef tomatoes or the biggest tomatoes you can find
  • 200g feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • sea salt flakes and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out the insides with a spoon.

Mix the feta, dill, parsley and some sea salt flakes and black pepper together.

Spoon this mixture into the tomatoes and place on a lightly oiled baking tray.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and the cheese browned.

(Original recipe from Mamushka by Olia Hercules, Mitchell Beazley, 2015.)

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Spring Radish & Tomato Salad

The radishes growing in the garden are all ready at the same time and we’ve been looking for recipes to use them. This is Ukranian salad from Olia Hercules’ book – Mamushka. Olia suggests you need bread alongside to mop up the dressing at the end and we couldn’t agree more. Crusty and white we think works best. Nice as a side dish or as a light lunch.

Spring radish & tomato salad – serves 4

  • 4 small cucumbers, or 1 large (we used baby cucumbers)
  • 2 beef tomatoes
  • ½ a bunch of radishes, sliced
  • ½ a bunch of dill, chopped
  • 100ml natural yoghurt, diluted with ½ tbsp water
  • sea salt flakes and black pepper

Slice the cucumber and tomatoes directly into the bowl, so that you catch all the juice. Add the radishes and dill and mix well.

Season the yoghurt really well with the salt and pepper, then stir through the salad. When you’ve finished the salad you will be left with a puddle of pale pink dressing which should be mopped up with some bread.

(Original recipe from Mamushka by Olia Hercules, Mitchell Beazley, 2015.)

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Oregano pesto

Our Oregano plants have gone mad, so we thought it a shame not to use them more. Taking inspiration from the Classic Basil Pesto and with a little adjustment this is of course good on pasta. It also really comes into it’s own on top of roast chicken: simply roast some chicken thighs and drumsticks and top with this when cooked.

Oregano Pesto – enough to serve 2 with pasta

  • 25g pine nuts
  • 25g oregano leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 15g Parmesan

Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan until lightly coloured, then remove from the pan and leave to cool.

Pound the oregano in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt, some coarse ground black pepper and the garlic. When the oregano has broken down, add the pine nuts and pound until finely crushed. Stir in the oil and Parmesan, then season to taste. Cover with a layer of oil and store in the fridge.

 

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